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Why Cremations Are The Eco-Friendly Family’s Choice

One of the hardest conversations a parent must have with their child centers around preparing a child for experiencing a funeral. Having to explain death and sadness to a child while experiencing grief, and the fact that the deceased is most likely a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or other close relative, make attending a funeral ever more stressful.

But, then this past March happened. I didn't take my children with me to the funeral of my aunt, but what I encountered at the funeral (a lovely service in South Florida) opened my eyes to an easier way to approach and explain death to small children.

My aunt, always ahead of her time and a trend setter, apparently made it clear to her family that she was going to be cremated. Instead of an open casket sitting by itself, providing a final memory starkly different from how I would really like to remember her, sat a brushed, polished metal urn. Simple. Stately. Elegant. That was my aunt.

As soon as I returned home, I decided to do some research on cremation. How is it done? How popular is it? Who is most likely to choose cremation? How much does a cremation cost? My education in all things cremation opened my eyes to an apparent rise in popularity in this method of meeting eternity.

Cremation seems like it would be pretty straightforward. The crematory staff members turn on a heated chamber, push a button to move the combustible casket into the chamber, and break down the body to ash. While that is the method most often used, there are new cremation technologies emerging. Yes. I said cremation and technology. For instance, in the state of Florida (where cremation is surprisingly popular) a new method of cremation was developed a couple of years ago that uses no heat and is therefore "greener" than traditional cremation. Alkaline Hydrolosis uses liquid to reduce the body to its base form. And these are the reasons why some of the most eco-friendly families are choosing cremations for their final wishes.

As I mentioned, Floridians apparently love cremation as opposed to burial. Other states like Washington, Oregon, and California have also embraced the practice. One statistic I saw showed that over 50 percent of US citizens will opt for cremation over burial by the year 2025.

There are many reasons why cremation is growing in popularity. For one, we are a much more mobile society than we were a few generations ago. Having a place in the ground our family can visit is just less important to us now that we are spread out far and wide from where we grew up. Another reason is that cremation just costs less than burial.

But I think what I like best about the trend towards acceptance of the practice is that parents with small children no longer have to explain why grandpa looks like he's sleeping. Replacing a coffin with an urn during a memorial service doesn't get you out of having to explain death to your child, but it allows each of us to remember the one we loved and lost in the best way possible: with our own fond, personal memories.


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